by Kirsty Evans
Jhameel, the local purveyor of “orchestral dream pop” who was profiled recently in the Express, is starting to garner some attention outside the Bay Area too.
The whole thing started, as many Internet sensations do, on Reddit. With two separate posts, the first on July 15 and the second one day later, both of them raving about the same song, an unexpectedly soulful cover of T-Pain’s “Buy You a Drink”.
It takes a lot to make a song as fundamentally shallow as “Buy You a Drink” sound emotional, but somehow Jhameel pulls it off. Part of the video’s appeal, judging by the comments, was the use of the LoopStation, a compact phrase recording and sampling pedal whose operation is easy to understand once you see it in action. Mostly, though, what seems to have caught the attention of so many is the sweet voice (multiple commenters compared it to Michael Jackson) and the overwhelming air of earnestness.
Although there’s a dispiriting racism on display in many of the comments on Reddit, overall the tone was one of appreciation for Jhameel’s talent and ability to pull something interesting out of such banal source material. One comment. Another comment.
And that’s when it went viral. Links started popping up on popular blogs; we first ran across a link on a major feminist blog. The links were all over the Internet, some with admiring commentary and some simply posting the link. Comment 1. Comment 2. Comment 3. Comment 4.
The cover even surfaced on a subsidiary site of legendary British music paper the New Musical Express (usually a good sign that an artist may be about to make it big).